More often than not, solar customers are provided with a sufficient amount of solar panels necessary for their energy consumption at the time of purchasing. However, customers may later find that they require more panels than they had initially installed, possibly due to an increase in energy consumption or an addition to their home. While adding more solar panels to an existing system is possible, there are things to think about before beginning the process. If you find yourself still thinking about adding more panels to your system after considering those things, we’ve outlined some ways to do it.
What to Consider When Adding More Solar Panels To Your Home
Space and Access to Sunlight
If you plan on upgrading the system to your roof, the first thing you’ll need to do is figure out if you have enough space on your roof to accommodate an expanded system. Not only will this demand more space, but it will specifically demand space that has access to sunlight.
You should also know the minimum amount of solar panels a company will add for an installation. For instance, RevoluSun requires a minimum of eight to ten panels for a new system, though that may not be consistent with other companies. For any questions about spacing or access to sunlight, contact your solar installer for more information.
Your Current Energy Use
Upgrading your solar system will save you money and bring your home more energy, but it is still important to make sure that it is necessary. Before committing, confirm that you aren’t using any unnecessary and excess electricity throughout the home. Conserving energy where possible will help your home become more energy efficient so a system expansion may not be necessary.
Additional Energy Capacity
It’s important to carefully evaluate how many solar panels you will need to add to make sure you’re meeting your needs now and in the future. Consider your own needs and goals with energy and collaborate with the solar installer to decide how much you should increase your energy production.
If you do not have enough space in your inverter, you will need to either replace the inverter or add a completely new system. (We will go further into this.)
One of the reasons people go solar is the financial incentives that come with purchasing your solar system. If you intend on continuing in these programs, you may need to ensure that adding more solar panels will not interfere.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) and the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, two of the leading incentive programs in Massachusetts, have time spans customers must commit to in order to receive full incentives. After you enroll in an incentive program, you have committed to the amount of energy you signed on for. If you go beyond that amount of energy, you will violate that contract and be removed from the program. For instance, both SMART and SREC’s enrollment is ten years, so if you add more panels to your system within those first ten years, you may be removed from the program.
To avoid any risk, adding more panels to an existing system is easiest once you have gone through the program’s appointed period. However, if you would like to expand your system during an ongoing incentive program, installing a new system through a new inverter will secure your current incentives, and enroll you in a new program.
Three Ways to Add More Solar Panels
It’s important to communicate with your chosen installer to ensure you are avoiding any risks that may come with adding more panels. This is a case-by-case procedure that will be relative to your home, budget, and energy needs. Here are three main ways to add more solar panels to an existing solar installation:
1. Install Panels As A New System With Additional Inverter
If you are looking to increase the size of your solar system substantially, you may want to install a new system, including new panels and an additional inverter. Fortunately, this may be the easiest way to expand your system since it allows you to install it in a different location on your property and will not interfere with your incentives or warranty.
If you have run out of space on the roof, this option works great with a ground mount or solar tracker. Keep in mind that you or your installer will likely have to request additional permits and approval from your town or utility company to install a ground mount or expanded rooftop system.
2. Add To Original System With Current Inverter
If you do have space next to the existing system, as well as enough capacity in your inverter, it’s possible that adding to the original system will work best for you. You will have to confirm that your inverter is able to handle the added energy that comes from the extra panels you add. If it does not, this will not be the optimal solution.
If possible, we suggest that you work with your original solar company for this addition, for they will know this system the best and won’t interfere with your system’s warranty. It is also important to ensure that the additional equipment is compatible with the existing system. Talk to your installation company for any questions or concerns on this.
3. Add to Original System and Replace Inverter
If your inverter does not have the capacity necessary for an expanded system, and you do not want to have another inverter, you will need to replace your current inverter with an upgraded one.
Remember, replacing your inverter before your incentive program is up will remove you from the original program and place you in the current program. It’s important to discuss this with the solar installer you are going through to guarantee you are secure.
Talk To RevoluSun About Adding More Panels
Interested in adding more solar panels to your existing solar system? Our team can answer any question you have about adding to your system.